What is a Third-Party Contact Restraining Order in Massachusetts?

One woman whispering to another woman conveying a message.

A Third-Party Contact Restraining Order in Massachusetts is typically part of an Abuse Prevention Order (209A Order) or a Harassment Prevention Order (258E Order) which may require the individual who is the subject of the order to refrain from contacting the victim not only directly but also through third parties. This kind of order is aimed at preventing the individual from circumventing the order’s intent by using someone else to contact the protected party. In essence, it prohibits any form of contact with the protected individual, whether direct or indirect.

Understanding Third-Party Contact Restraining Orders

Navigating Restraining
Order Violations

When you’re facing the distress of a restraining order, it’s crucial to understand not just the order itself, but also what constitutes a violation. Violations can include anything from text messages and phone calls to more indirect forms of contact. In Massachusetts, violation of a restraining order is a criminal offense, carrying the weight of potential criminal charges. It’s a serious matter that requires careful attention to the terms of the order.

The Scope of Abuse Prevention Orders in Massachusetts

In the Commonwealth, Abuse Prevention Orders serve to protect victims of domestic violence from further harm. This protection extends to preventing unwanted sexual relations and physical violence from a household member or family member. An Abuse Prevention Order can also prohibit your abuser from contacting you in any way, including through a third party.

Legal Process and
Court Proceedings

Filing for Protection

Securing a protective order is a legal process that unfolds in civil court. It begins with you filing an application for protection. In it, you’ll describe the abusive behavior. You want to be as detailed as possible. Include every instance of abuse. Include dates, times and how it made you feel.

Ex-Parte Hearing

You’ll have a hearing the same day you file your paperwork. It’s called an ex-parte hearing because there is only one party, you in this case, that will talk to the judge. If they are convinced that you need protection, they’ll issue a Temporary Order that is good for 10 business days.

2-Party Hearing

If you want to extend your Order, you need to go back to court on the 10th day. This time your abuser may be present and can address the court as well. Make sure you bring all the evidence and any witnesses you have. You want to give the judge a full picture of what’s going on and why you need the Order.

Specifics of Protection Orders

Harassment Prevention Order Versus Abuse Prevention Order

In Massachusetts, a Harassment Prevention Order is not limited to family members, unlike an Abuse Prevention Order. It is crucial to understand the differences between the two, as each type of order serves different forms of protection under Massachusetts law. Both Orders provide similar protections for you, including no third-party contact.

The Importance of Following Restraining Order Terms

Adhering strictly to the terms of the order, whether it’s an Abuse Prevention Order or a Harassment Prevention Order, is essential. Violation of the order, even inadvertently through a third-party contact, can lead to serious legal consequences, including a possible criminal record.

Help Getting a Restraining Order in Massachusetts

If you’d like help getting a Restraining Order without paying an expensive attorney, we can help. With our Legal Coaching we can walk you through every step to make sure you’re ready for your hearing. The first thing to do is see if you qualify for a Massachusetts Restraining Order. Click on the link below to see if you qualify for either type of Restraining Order.

Criminal Case Implications for Violation of an Abuse Prevention Order

Violating a Restraining Order in Massachusetts can lead to a criminal case where your abuser may face criminal penalties. This shows the importance of understanding every aspect of the order, including any provisions about third-party contact.

Your Rights and the Law

Understanding your rights under Massachusetts law is the first step towards ensuring your safety. An Abuse Prevention Order or a Harassment Prevention Order carries severe consequences if violated, and it’s essential to comply with all legal orders.

Legal Disclaimer

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances and receive tailored guidance.

More To Explore